Big 12 Previews

Oklahoma vs. Iowa State: Preview and Prediction

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Iowa State Cyclones.

GAME INFO

Saturday, October 29, 2022; 11:00 p.m. CT; Jack Trice Memorial Stadium; Ames, Iowa

TV: FS1 (Noah Eagle, Mark Helfrich)

Radio: Sooner Sports Radio (Toby Rowland, Teddy Lehman, Gabe Ikard, Chris Plank); Cyclone Radio Network (John Walters, Eric Heft, Ryan Harklau)

Records: Oklahoma (4-3, 1-3); Iowa State (3-4, 0-4)

Rankings: Both teams unranked

Last Week: Both teams coming off bye week

Series History: Oklahoma leads 78-7-2

Last Meeting: Oklahoma 28, Iowa State 21

Favorite: Oklahoma (-1.5)

Fun Fact: Iowa State only has seven wins in 87 all-time meetings against Oklahoma, but two of the victories have come over the last five seasons. In 2017, the Cyclones beat No. 3 OU 38-31 in Norman, and on Oct. 3, 2020, they posted a 37-30 home win over the No. 18 Sooners. ISU was unranked in both contests. OU has won the last two matchups.

 

KEY PLAYERS

Oklahoma Sooners

RB Eric Gray

Oklahoma running back Eric Gray has been the most valuable player on Oklahoma’s offense to this point in the season, save quarterback Dillon Gabriel. Gray leads the nation with 7.2 yards per carry and is coming off performance against Kansas in which he turned 20 carries into 176 yards and two touchdowns. Iowa State possesses the Big 12’s best rushing defense, while Oklahoma’s rushing offense ranks second in the conference. Gray’s success on Saturday will determine whether or not Oklahoma wins this football game.

DE Reggie Grimes

Oklahoma’s defensive struggles start up front as Oklahoma has recorded just one sack in the last four contests. The Sooners’ inability to make opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable has been costly, as has their inability to stop the run, allowing 207.4 rushing yards per game (121st). Oklahoma’s sack leader, Reggie Grimes, has been selected as a captain this week against Iowa State, meaning that he had a good week of practice in the bye week. Grimes, Ethan Downs, and freshman R Mason Thomas need to start getting into the backfield with regularity, and it needs to start against Iowa State.

 

Iowa State Cyclones

WR Xavier Hutchinson

If Oklahoma isn’t able to get pressure on Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers, Xavier Hutchinson will make them pay. Hutchinson ranks second nationally with 67 receptions, and has turned that into 758 yards (8th nationally) and five touchdowns. With the way that Oklahoma has looked recently, Iowa State has to feel good about what Hutchinson can do on Saturday, and if he gets loose, watch out. The Iowa State offense has struggled, but No. 8 has been a bright spot and should continue to be the focal point for the Cyclones’ offense this week against OU.

DE Will McDonald IV

The Big 12 has a wealth of top-tier pass rushers, and right at the top is Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald IV. The Big 12’s current active sack leader is just one-half sack away from tying Von Miller as the all-time sack leader in the conference, and there’s a good chance he will get that against the Sooners on Saturday. If Iowa State’s defensive line can control the flow of the game it will go a long way in helping them win the ballgame, and that all starts with McDonald.

 

KEY STORYLINES

Oklahoma Sooners

Can Oklahoma’s defense build on some promising moments from the Kansas game? The Sooners have struggled with communication and adjusting to presnap motion this year, two things that Kansas will stress a defense with. While OU gave up 42, it did show signs of being in position and didn’t have the busted plays that we saw in the three weeks prior. Oklahoma also forced a couple of turnovers and had a stretch in the middle of the game where it stopped KU on four consecutive possessions. Iowa State’s offense has struggled in 2022, and the Sooners need to keep it that way to win on Saturday.

Iowa State Cyclones

Can Iowa State make Oklahoma pay for defensive miscues? We have seen Iowa State squander opportunities several times this year, the latest of which was a dropped walk-in score by Xavier Hutchinson in ISU’s 24-21 loss to Texas. When similar opportunities arise against OU, will the Cyclones finally capitalize? Oklahoma’s offense is good enough to score points in this game, but its defense is vulnerable. If Iowa State can match the Sooners on a couple of scores, the Cyclones have to feel good about getting more stops in the end to win the game.

PREDICTION: Oklahoma 31, Iowa State 28

I have a feeling that Oklahoma is going to string together some wins in the back half of their schedule, and this one will be tough. This game is very interesting to me because it pits one of the top offenses (OU) in the Big 12 against one of the top defenses (Iowa State) in the Big 12, but also has one of the conferences worst defenses (OU) facing one of its worst offenses (Iowa State). I’m going to side with offense in this game and I think that Oklahoma will have just enough in the tank to take down Iowa State on the road and get to 5-3 on the year.

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